Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

5 Hour Marathon Pace | Dominate the “Thon” NOW

If you are seeking to run 26.2 miles at 5 hour marathon pace you'll have to change up your strategy. The biggest hindrance for many marathoners is that they think running more mileage is the answer.

5 hour marathon pace

It is not the volume you need to concern yourself with. The quality of the mileage you are running is what will make the difference. Furthermore, it is about using leverage.

Far too many runners second guess themselves. The 5 hour marathon requires runners to sustain 11:27 per mile or 7:06 per kilometer.

So, how can you make 5 hour marathon pace feel more relaxed? Spend more of your weekly mileage running at or below sub 5 hour marathon pace.

Remember, 11:27 per mile or 7:08 per kilometer is the average pace you need to hold. What that means is many of your miles or kilometers will be run faster than 5 hr marathon pace.

You'll be running many of your miles faster than your goal pace.

Break The 5 HR Marathon With Faster Long Runs

The biggest reason I was able to drop my marathon PR from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 was due to this.

I was running too many miles too slow to achieve my goal which was a sub-2:22:00 marathon. That being said, prior to breaking the sub-2:20 barrier my best marathon was 2:40:02.

The reason why I am writing this post is I want more athletes to get under the 5 hour marathon. I've been where you are at. Additionally, I understand the frustration you may be feeling.

A lot of runners can sustain sub 5 hr marathon pace for a portion of the distance. The trick is to sustain the pace for the entire distance.  It does you no good to say,

I was on sub 5 hour marathon pace for 21 miles but…

You have to focus on leveraging the strength you already have. I already know you have the desire and commitment to break the 5 hour marathon. The trick now is to figure out what is causing you the biggest pain point.

How Do I Train for a 5 Hour Marathon?

You will not run under a 5hr marathon by running slow every day. You need to spend adequate time training at, near and far below your goal race pace. So, the key is training in such a way to get 11:26 mile or 7:06 kilometer pace to feel more in control and less aggressive. Yes, easier said than done right? Well, you can under this time barrier by following what marathoners who have achieved what you are aiming to do.

I have run 2 hours, 19 minutes and 35 seconds for the marathon. No, I do not write that to impress you but to impress upon you that you can achieve this goal time. It is about working smarter rather than harder. You already know how to work hard. So, now we need to train you in such a way so you can get better results by working smarter.

What Pace is a 5 Hour Marathon in KM?

The pace per kilometer you need to hold for 42.2 kilometers if 7 minutes and 6 seconds per K. No easy feat but certainly achievable. The key is training at paces that are below goal marathon race pace. I teach the concepts of how to run under a 5 hour marathon in the Sub 5 Hour Marathon bootcamp course that can be found here on rundreamachieve.com by clicking on any of the buttons on this post. Also, you can click on the “Courses” tab and find the 5 hour marathon course there as well. Below are some additional tips to help you break the 5 hr marathon barrier.

  1. Vary up the pace of your long run

Do not just run easy every weekend. This is a common mistake far too many athletes make. I also made this mistake when I was just learning how to run the marathon.

The marathon is not like the 5K or 10K. The marathon takes specific training to get right. If you are having issues holding sub 5 hour marathon pace the entire way this could be your issue.

You're doing your long runs but just not fast enough. The key is to gradually over time extend the amount of time you are running at higher heart rates. Optimal performance comes about over time. Nothing happens overnight.

This doesn't happen overnight. You have to be patient to become a 4 hour marathoner. Every learns to crawl before they can walk. This isn't an overnight process.

I can certainly provide you some key tips and strategies to break the 5 hour marathon barrier. The problem is you have to do the work.

Here are a few examples of long runs that will not help you get under 5 hours for the marathon:

18 miler at 14:00 mile pace

22 miler at 13:00 mile pace

Check Out our New Sub 5 Hour Marathon Bootcamp Course

Long Run Examples

Here are a few examples of the types of long runs I would suggest to help you become a sub 5 hour marathoner.

16 miler – first 5 miles easy at 130 beats per minute (or approx. 12:45 mile pace), 4 miles@11:00 mile pace, 2 miles@12:00 mile pace, 5 miles@11:00 mile pace.

22 miler -first 5 miles easy, 5 miles@11:00 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 9:50, 2 mile easy, 6 miles@11:35 mile pace, 1 mile jog

Do you see the difference between the two?

Both examples will clearly build endurance but the latter examples will built stamina to sustain the pace.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

We all have been taught to work hard but working hard does not always guarantee results.

I know.

In addition, I got my mileage up to 142 miles a week thinking more mileage would equate to a faster marathon.

The results were dismal at best.

It left me fatigued. Of course, I was fit but I just didn't have the leg turnover. Remember, the results come from resting.

I ran my marathon PR of 2:19:35 while running far less mileage. 85 to 90 miles per week.

That being said, the mileage was high quality. In addition, a large percentage of my weekly mileage was spent running far faster than goal marathon race pace.

The best runners work smart. They get results because they are using leverage. You can break the 5 hour marathon by simply making some small changes in your training.

How you conduct your long run is the first step.

Is 5 Hours Good for a Marathon?

Yes, a sub 5 hour marathon is a competitive time that people all over the world are seeking to achieve.

2. How often are you practicing drinking during your training? Do you want to know the biggest marathon time killer there is?

Lack of hydration. You will not break the 5 hour marathon by sipping fluid during your race. I made this mistake earlier on in my career. Sure, I, like you, had a lot of motivation and determination to run fast. The problem was I wasn't drinking enough during the race. I continued to fall apart at around mile 15 to 20. Additionally, I also experienced a couple DNF's (did not finish).

One of the best ways to improve your marathon performance is to drink more fluid during your race.

5 Hour Marathon Mile Pace

This is something you can practice and get good at. Be patient with yourself. I would suggest sitting out fluid bottles every 3 miles during your long runs. Also, sit out gel packets around miles 8 and 18 during your 20 miler. You don't get 5 hour marathon pace to feel easier overnight. The key is to run at, near and far below goal marathon race pace and often.

If your long runs are not quite that long, adjust accordingly. A good suggestion is to have your fluid bottles sat out every 3 miles. I cover this extensively in the 5 hour marathon bootcamp course. One of the biggest mistakes marathoners make is not drinking enough during their race..

Have a concern you may drink too much in the race and don't want fluid sloshing around in your stomach?

What Pace is a 5 Hour Marathon?

The pace for a sub 5 hour marathon is 11 minutes and 26 seconds per mile or 7 minutes and 6 seconds per kilometer for the distance.

Practice in training until it becomes automatic. You want to make your mistakes in training, not in the race.In addition, you want to also keep in mind that you need to be ingesting additional calories in your marathon as well. The body desperately needs those added calories while you are racing. Remember, there are only about 1700 to 1800 calories of carbohydrate stored within the body at any given time. So, you want to conserve carbohydrates and teach the body to burn fat at race pace.

Have you ever watched the best marathoners in the world? They will grab their water bottles and hold them while they are still racing. Additionally, they'll hold them for at least 800 meters in the race. They are drinking, not just sipping. A common mistake marathoners seeking to break the 5 hour marathon is they are not drinking enough. You cannot expect to race 26.2 miles and drink the equivalent of a half a cup of fluid. Unfortunately, this is what happens to many well-meaning, determined runners. They simply are not taking in sufficient calories and fluid during their marathons. Our muscles are in desperate need of proper hydration during the race.

5 Hour Marathon Pace KM

So, the key to holding 7:06 per kilometer for 42.2 kilometers is consistent and tenacious work ethic and attention to detail in your training. We cover how to bypass the mistakes of other marathoners in the sub 5 hour marathon bootcamp. Also, how to work smarter rather than harder to ensure you run that 4:59:59 or faster time you have been aiming for.

The best runners also get over failures faster than most. You already know the marathon is not an easy race. The trick to generating big results in this event is to not lose enthusiasm during training. We all experience set backs and trials in training. How we deal with them will dictate our success. Yes, breaking a 5 hour marathon will not be easy. That being said, if you can make the changes mentioned above and stay focused you will break the barrier.

It is not an “if” but a “when”. My goal was to get under the sub-2:22:00 marathon barrier so I had to follow the same advice I am sharing with you in this post. The same mistakes I made were common to many other runners with time goals like you.

Here are the three main mistakes I was making that I corrected:

  1. Running too many miles too slow during the week
  2. Long runs were far too slow for the type of marathon time I was aspiring to run
  3. I was not drinking sufficient fluids or taking in enough calories during the race

Have you made similar mistakes?

Is 5 Hours Good for a Marathon?

Yes, of course it is. The athlete that runs under 5 hours needs to sustain 11.26 per mile or 7:06 per kilometer pace. So, you do have to be in competitive shape in order to run a time of 4:59:59 or faster for this distance.

The best runners are the smartest as it pertains to preparation. Also, higher mileage does not guarantee better performance. So, if you don't make the necessary changes you will see little on your return on investment. Remember, it isn't the amount of mileage you are putting in as much as it is the quality of the work.

A 5 hour marathon training plan has to focus on goal race pace implementation. Far too many runners neglect practicing at or below their goal pace. This is why the Kenyans make it look so easy. It isn't because they are talented. Talent that doesn't work will not last long. You have to be extremely patient and let the physiological adaptations to occur to improve in the marathon event.

Closing Thoughts

RunnerWorld has a great marathon pace chart you can check out. It will help guide you to the pace you desire for the entire race distance.

Again, if  you can make the necessary changes that I have mentioned in this post you will succeed.

So, the key to running faster for the marathon distance is proper hydration practices, goal marathon race pace training and patience.

The latter is the key. Far too many runners quit too early. The marathon is not the 5K or 10K. It takes time and persistence to succeed and those that are patient enough will see long-term results.

5 hour marathon pace can be mastered. The key is getting used to running at or far below this place and often. You want that pace to feel smooth and in control up to at least mile 20.

The last 10K of the marathon event is always going to be a challenge. That being said, if you prepare yourself better than your competition you will dip under 5 hours.

Remember, the smartest runners win, not necessarily the hardest working athletes.

Leave a comment below if you have a question. Subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel to get up to date video updates.

Check Out our New Sub 5 Hour Marathon Bootcamp Course

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3 responses to “5 Hour Marathon Pace | Dominate the “Thon” NOW

  1. I have had 3 marathons coming in at the sub 5 hour mark (all very flat) and am training for a time constrained (to 5 hour) downhill trail run… My last trail run was a brutal 3.5 hour 1/2 marathon ordeal that was 95% uphill with grades in the 20 to 30 range…. I have cut training to 30 miles running every week concentrating on negative splits but since I race a half marathon at least once a month I leave out the long run…. With three weeks left should I push a long run into my training since I have run no longer than 10K in this rotation?

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